I'm getting ready for my third night here in Rome, and my head is overflowing with experiences. It's all too much to recount here, but I've done and seen a lot. I've wandered through ancient ruins (and ancient here means B.C. as well as A.D. ancient). I've been inside the Roman Colosseum, looked up at the Sistine Chapel . . .
But you can get there in a day
I made it to Rome, and now after catching up on my sleep I can think clearly enough to write about it. I took a plane from Chicago to Dublin, and after about an hour and a half in Dublin another plane brought me to Rome. The shuttle bus that took me to my hotel broke down on the way (I think its transmission went out), but they got another . . .
Last night, I woke up at 3 AM and thought, “The monks are getting ready to pray now.” Vigils, the first time the monks at New Melleray Abbey gather for prayer, happens at 3:30 AM. I’m an early riser, but 3:30 in the morning is early. The monastery church is dark, except for the lights in the visitors’ area and a small light for the monks who . . .
I wanted my sabbatical to begin with a time of quiet and prayer, so here at the start I went to New Melleray Abbey in Eastern Iowa. New Melleray is a Trappist monastery, and they’re devoted to a contemplative life of prayer and silence. I arrived on Monday, and I’ll leave on Friday.
People are often curious, who’ve never experienced . . .
193 Miles on the Katy Trail
Men usually need a shared activity when they get together. Guys aren't into sitting and sharing; we've got to do something. When my Dad and I get together we ride bikes. Here on the first week of my sabbatical we took a trip down the Katy Trail in Missouri. We've done this three times before, riding and staying along the trail. . . .
i.e.- How did you get so lucky to get three months off of work?
During the preparations for this time, I’ve had a few ask me, “What’s a sabbatical?” It’s a fair question; they’re asking, “What exactly is this thing you’re doing?” A sabbatical is a period of paid leave for learning and travel. Sabbatical comes from the Hebrew word Sabbath (or Shabbat), which means to cease, stop, or rest. A key part . . .
Giving up, for a time, preaching a weekly sermon.
The church where I worshiped during college had several retired ministers as members. I learned that they really missed having something to say because anytime they were given a role in worship they couldn’t stop talking. What was to be a two minute offering appeal lasted seven or eight minutes. The quick mission announcement reached . . .